The complaint, “The repair man said he would be here between 2 and 4, and now it’s 6 and I’m still waiting…” is a staple of consumer exasperation. But what if the customer complaint was, “The service said they would send someone to fix our $500 million oil refinery and they still haven’t shown up…” it’s the same field service operations problem, but on a whole different scale. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers solutions for field service issues at any scale.
Microsoft launched Dynamics 365, in 2016 as a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) version of its respected Dynamics product line. In this suite, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers a range of enterprise resource planning (ERP) functions. Business Central was originally known as Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics SL.
The Dynamics 365 Business Central Service Management Module
The Service Management module within Business Central is designed to support repair shop and field service operations. It works within scenarios like complex customer service distribution systems as well as industrial service environments with bills of materials. The module also enables high-volume dispatching of service technicians and provides for spare parts management.
How to Improve Field Service with Dynamics 365 Business Central
Dynamics 365 Business Suite’s centralized administration hub for service management makes possible many improvements to field service. The central hub makes it possible for service managers to stay on top of the many different, simultaneous aspects of service delivery. These include:
- Scheduling service calls and setting up service orders
- Tracking repair parts and supplies
- Assigning service personnel, and if necessary, allocating personnel based on skills and availability
- Providing service estimates
- Preparing service invoices
- Standardizing coding of service work
- Setting up contracts
- Implementing a discount policy
- Creating route maps
The centralized hub allows for managing these moving targets all at once. For instance, scheduling service calls may itself be challenging. However, when you have to factor in a back-ordered replacement part or an incomplete service contract into the process, there may be confusion and delays that negatively affect customer experience.
The suite lets service managers get out ahead of customer service issues, e.g. automatically sending out service reminders to customers in advance. This example reveals, however, that service management is not just about the toolset. The tool enables a policy, like service reminders, but the company has to devise the policy first. This is a business management challenge.
The best practice is to think through your customer’s priorities. Think about how they define a great customer experience and then work backward through the Service Management Module to realize that great experience. The platform’s data output can help in this regard. For example, you might run reports on service delays and discover that most of the were due to backordered spare parts. This knowledge enables you to plan ahead and stock parts that will be in demand—reducing disappointed customers in the process.